[Quick Summary: Lizzie Bennet is pride; Mr. Darcy is prejudice. They fall in love.]
I love verbal riposte between characters.
The thrust (Beat #1) and parry (Beat #2) are fun to write.
But what about Beat #3? (It's my downfall.)
How do you get out of the riposte, and land on a good Beat #3?
Let's take a look at several examples in this stellar script:
Ex. MRS. BENNET: How can you tease me, Mr. Bennet? Have you no compassion for my poor nerves?
MR. BENNET: You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for them; they have been my constant companions these twenty years.
MRS. BENNET: Is he amiable? [She takes a different angle.]
Ex. CHARLOTTE: That is his good friend, Mr. Darcy.
LIZZIE: He looks miserable, poor soul.
CHARLOTTE: Miserable he may be, but poor he most certainly is not.
LIZZIE: Tell me. [Her appetite increases for more info.]
- DARCY: I thought that poetry was the food of love.
LIZZIE: Of a fine, stout love it may. But if it is only a vague inclination, I am convinced that one poor sonnet will kill it stone dead.
DARCY: So what do you recommend, to encourage affection? [He throws out a dare.]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: To land Beat #3, try
- Taking the conversation in a different direction.
- Baiting the character.
- Taking the fight to a more personal level.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
by Deborah Moggach
Adapted from the novel by Jane Austen